If you’ve considered or are thinking about raising honey bees, the key thing to keep in mind would be the safety of other animals and pets that you have if they are living on the same property. For those with a large property where you can separate the honey bees from other animals, things would be much easier. However, for those that don’t, you need to figure out how to keep your pets, chickens, and bees all safe while they share the same space.
How to Raise Honey Bees with Chickens
Honey bees and chickens actually get along just fine. Those with experience have tried using wire fences to divide the bees yard from the chicken yard; afraid that the chickens would be bothered by the bees and snap at them with their buzzing noise in and out of hives. However, it was eventually taken down as the chickens did not seem to be bothered by the bees.
Chickens can also help keep pests like roaches out of the hives. Chickens like to scratch around the hives and eat the remnants that worker bees remove from the hives. This prevents the pests from reaching the hives. The presence of chickens hanging around the hives also prevents wax moth worms from attacking the bees.
Bees can also sting chickens and cause extreme pain in the eyes and on the wattle. However, bees seem to be able to tolerate the scratching of the hives by the chickens and often choose to leave them alone.
However, there is still a need to keep confinement for the chickens in mind. If the chickens are kept in an enclosed area like a coop and are free to run around, you’ll need to have some distance between the chickens’ space and where the hives are at. Do also make sure to keep the hives facing away from the coop.
One interesting observation is that chickens love wax combs so remember not to leave the frames lying around when you remove them from the hives. They will not hesitate to hen-peck the honeycombs and leave none left. The beeswax is harmless to the chickens and can be digested, but you don’t want the chickens to be feasting on them.
How to Raise Honey Bees with Domestic Pets
Domestic pets like dogs and cats are beloved members that belong in the family and we often take their safety into consideration the same way that we would for our family members. Even if you have dogs and cats roaming around, it is entirely safe for bees to be placed in the same area as them.
However, do take note if your domestic pet has a bee sting allergy. Similar to humans, it is possible for cats and dogs to have allergic reactions. Some allergic reactions can be severe, and bee stings can be a form of allergy for domestic dogs and cats. In serious cases, allergies can be deadly. In the event that your dog or cat is known to be allergic to bee stings, it is definitely not a good idea to put the hives together with where the pets may roam. The good news is, deadly bee allergies are rare exceptions in domestic pets.
Dogs and cats will learn from their mistakes. If they roam close to the hives and happen to get bitten once, they will learn from it and choose to keep a distance away from the hives in the future. Some dogs may find the bees interesting and try to attack them and catch them as they buzz around. It may take a few bee stings before they learn and choose to stop such behavior; staying far away from them.
If you own a dog, make sure that the dog is able to escape if the bees get angry and choose to attack the dog. Most of the time, bees don’t get agitated without good reason and there is a cause for their change in behavior. It can be grass that is blown into the hives due to mowing in the area, a raccoon trying to enter their area or a strong wind that topples their home. If such events happen, you will not want your pet to suffer the bees’ wrath. For dogs that are chained outside or kept restricted, you may need to reconsider whether to leave beehives nearby as it means that your dog cannot escape if the bees were to attack.
How to Raise Honey Bees with Other Livestock
Most of the time, if you have larger livestock, having bees simultaneously should not be an issue. The same things to take note of and look out for with chickens and pets apply to larger livestock as well. The main concern is the same as that for dogs and cats, which is making sure that the animals can make an escape in case of an attack by the bees.
Larger livestock like cows can unintentionally knock over hives without purposely wanting to create a problem. They can also rub against hives with little aggression from the bees. Regardless, it is always a good idea to keep the hives a good distance from large livestock or install a fence to surround the beehives.
For smaller properties with large livestock and bees, you may want to consider leaving the bees on higher areas like rooftops, just like in urban areas where bees are raised. This ensures that the livestock and bees are not in contact with each other and this will give both sufficient space.
In conclusion, honey bees get along well with most animals that you may have on your property. However, there are considerations to keep in mind and always make sure that there is some space in between the animals. You should also ensure that the animals, be it domestic pets, chickens or larger livestock, should be able to run and escape if the bees decide to suddenly attack. Honey bees are not as dangerous as what others think, as long as you take the necessary precautions to stay safe!